Many high school students are hired by nursing homes and hospitals for part-time work because a high school diploma is frequently not required of nursing aides. Job opportunities may also exist in a hospital or nursing home kitchen, introducing you to diet and nutrition planning. These jobs will give you an opportunity to become familiar with the hospital and nursing home environments. Also, volunteer work can familiarize you with the work nurses and nurse assistants perform, as well as introduce you to basic medical terminology.
Nurse assistants generally help nurses care for patients in hospital or nursing home settings. Their duties include tending to the daily care of the patients, including bathing them, helping them with their meals, and checking their body temperature and blood pressure. In addition, they often help people who need assistance with their personal hygiene needs and answer their call lights when they need immediate assistance.
The work can be strenuous, requiring the lifting and moving of patients. Nurse assistants must work with partners or in groups when performing the more strenuous tasks to ensure their safety as well as the patient's. Some requirements of the job can be as routine as changing sheets and helping a patient or resident with phone calls, while other requirements can be as difficult and unattractive as assisting a resident with elimination and cleaning up a resident or patient who has vomited.
Nurse assistants may be called upon to perform the more menial and unappealing tasks of health and personal care, but they also have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with patients. In a nursing home, nursing assistants work closely with residents, often gaining their trust and friendship.